Red Bull were keenly looking at the race last weekend in Montreal to assess the two most recent manufacturer upgrades from Renault and Honda.
Red Bull are in a unique position in Formula 1 as they are a team that can accurately assess two power unit designs from two different manufacturers at the same time, due to the fact they own two teams on the grid. Red Bull Racing currently use the Renault power unit, and last year their junior team Toro Rosso switched to Honda Power after the failure of the partnership between McLaren and the Japanese manufacturer Honda.
TJ13 revealed last week that Red Bull bosses would be making this assessment in Canada in order for them to make an informed decision on whether to stick with Renault or to become the Honda works team and such a decision would likely be announced by the Austrian Grand Prix.
Renault nearly refused to allow Red Bull their most recent upgrade at the Canadian Grand Prix for several reasons; firstly the manufacturer claims that there was a limited supply of upgrades but in reality French manufacturer wanted to put Red Bull under pressure to make a decision. Secondly the Renault management were unsure whether they would want their former works team to have the unique position of being able to compare one engine upgrade to the others. Never underestimate the penchant for Gallic pride on the board.
It is understood that Red Bull were requiring Honda to, not necessarily be the most powerful or fastest, but to set out specific goals and achieve them avoiding any mistakes or errors in their development claims. Something that was rather a regular problem during the McLaren days.
Now it seems that Red Bull have discovered that Honda have made good on not only their development goals outlined before Canada but in fact they improved significantly in power also.
Red Bulls Helmut Marko claims to the German press yesterday that “we are talking about 3 tenths faster lap times” by Honda. And with that, it appears a decision has been made early – Red Bull will switch to Honda and that an announcement is very likely to happen before the Austrian Grand Prix.